Italy launched “hug a Chinese” campaign to fight coronavirus induced racism

·3-min read

The cardinal spike in spotlight on coronavirus racism came after the US president Donald Trump called it a "Chinese virus". (Courtesy:Twitter)

In an attempt to curb racism against Chinese and "Asian looking" the mayor of Florence in February launched "hug a Chinese" campaign. This campaign launched weeks before the first positive coronavirus case emerged in Italy encouraged Italians to take pictures of hugging Chinese people and post them on Twitter.

The mayor called for unity in this “common battle” and to fight the “psychological terrorism” that was corroborated soon after the coronavirus emerged from China’s Wuhan province. Taking to Twitter the mayor posted a video of himself hugging a Chinese man to spread this message.

Italian netizens responded by posting several pictures of themselves hugging Chinese people in order to eradicate discrimination and racism that slyly arose after the pandemic started spreading around the globe.

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This campaign exhibited a clear contradiction to the world that was encouraging social distancing and therefore faced backlash for brimming with ignorance and not accounting the dangers of human contact in such a sensitive time. This backlash became more profound on the social media after Italy's dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases.

Coronavirus induced racism against Asian looking people has been widely written and debated about. It has become one of the major cultural fallouts of the pandemic across the globe.

The cardinal spike in spotlight on coronavirus racism came after the US president Donald Trump called it a "Chinese virus". " Pandemic that unleashed a torrent of hate and violence as bigots blamed Asian Americans for the outbreak. In recent weeks, they have been yelled at, spit on, physically attacked and more, leading at least three organizations to begin tracking the episodes." New York Times reported.

Similarly the Guardian in its piece titled "Coughing while Asian': living in fear as racism feeds off coronavirus panic shares personal experiences of Asians living in Europe and highlights the periodicity in such incidents. "Trump’s new name for coronavirus comes after weeks of racist attacks against Asian American seen across the country." it said


While people are openly talking about this kind of racism and making efforts to curb it like the one done by Florence mayor, there are few viewpoints that point to the lack of China’s empathy towards parts of the world grappling with the coronavirus.

The Critic published a piece titled "The Coronavirus Cover Up talks about how China did not owe an explanation to the world when the world was busy giving China its proof of anti-racism.

The number of COVID-19 cases across the globe surpassed 6,67,090 on Sunday, with fresh cases being reported from Europe. So far more than 31,412 people died due to the disease, AP reported. While the US tops the world in the number of positive cases reported, five European countries — Italy, Spain, China, Iran, and France — recorded the highest number of deaths.

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